(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

ix                       ARISTOTLE'S OBSERVATIONS                    225
be bolted with by an Elephant is far from pleasing, though a
rather exciting event. It makes for the nearest jangle at once,
being, much more than the African species, an inhabitant of forest.
And in rushing through the dense undergrowth, the occupiers of
the Elephant's back are apt to be swept off or cut to pieces by
innumerable thorns.
Elephants, no doubt of the  Indian  species, were used by the
Persians in battle, and from fifteen which were captured at the
battle  of Arbela   some notes   were   drawn up by Aristotle.     In
stating   that   the   animal   reaches   an   age   of    200   years,   the
laturalist and philosopher was probably not  very far out.     The
node of Elephant-catching as related by Aristotle is that pur-
sued at the present day.     Then, as now, tame Elephants were
nade use of as decoys.     Pliny/ who was apt to confound fact and
iction in a somewhat inseparable tangle, had something to say
^bout Elephants, both Indian and African.    Serpents, he thought,
pere their chief enemies, which slew them, by coiling round them
.nd thrusting their heads into the trunk, and so stopping respiration.
n Europe Elephants were first seen in the year B.C. 280.   Pyrrhus
sed them in his invasion, and copying his example the Koreans
hemselves learnt  to use  Elephants.     The first Elephant seen in
England  arrived  in  the year  125*7, presented  by the King of
'ranee to Henry III.     It was kept in the Tower (for long after-
rards a menagerie), and died at twelve years of age.     Much use
f the Elephant has been made in symbols.     We have spoken of
le African Elephant  on   Carthaginian  coins  as an emblem of
;ernity.     The Oriental Elephant resting on the back of a, tortoise
id supporting the world is the same idea; and it is instructive
> note that remains have been found in the Siwalik Hills of a
>rtoise which would have been actually big enough to support
te   creature, even  "Jumbo,"   who   weighed   6|r  tons.     Another
Tnbol is that of an Elephant upon whose back is a child with
rows;  this occurs on a medal  of the Emperor Philip.     It can
ohaps hardly signify the eternity of a strong human feeling I
The intelligence of the Elephant has been both exaggerated and
inimised. Perhaps the most elaborate attempt to endow the
ast with unusual mental perceptions is that of Aelian, who
[ated that an Elephant carefully watching his keeper, wrote after
tn with his trunk letters upon a board. That the animal does
1 See Natural History of the Anwents, by Ker. M. G> Waikins, London,